Our Team

CAV Angels is headed by a group of individuals who have been successful as private investors, entrepreneurs, and executives.

Who’s Hoo

Paul Nolde
President

Paul Nolde has over two decades of experience in the banking, finance, and venture capital sectors, serving in multiple business development and management roles.

As the new Managing Director of Lighthouse Labs, Paul sets the strategic vision for the organization and oversees day-to-day operations in accelerating venture-appropriate startups at the seed stage. Prior to this he served as the Fund Manager and Managing Director of Riverflow Growth Fund, a seed stage, healthcare-focused venture capital firm based in Richmond, VA. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of fund management and investment-related functions. Prior to this he served as a director at NRV, an early-stage venture capital firm also based in Richmond, VA, preceded by sales and strategy positions at multiple national and community banks, as well as managing the angel investment portfolio of a family office in Richmond, VA. He is an active participant in, and advocate for, Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving on the boards of several local and regional organizations, including the Activation Council, CAV Angels (president of the network), The Launch Place Seed Fund (chair of the board), and the Virginia Impact Investing Forum (chair of the board). Additionally, Paul sits on various boards at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, where he also serves as an adjunct professor of impact investing in its Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He graduated from UVA in 2001 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs, complimented by post-grad business studies through the McIntire School of Commerce Business Institute.
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Jim Cheng
Co-Founder

Jim is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He founded, led, and exited an IT services firm that he grew from 5 people to 550 people in 9 years, and has started/led additional ventures since.

Rich Diemer
Co-Founder

Rich is a respected chemicals industry senior finance executive with a proven track record. He has served as the CFO at two public and one private, now public global materials companies.

Dick Crawford
Co-Founder

Dick is the Chairman of the Crawford Group, Inc., a multi-unit investment business with activities in agriculture, real estate, and advanced technology.

Vincent Liu
Chief of Staff
Vincent is an MBA candidate at UVA Darden School of Business. He spent 5+ years in financial services in China market, focusing on marketing, sales, and investment/market analysis. He also has working experience in an early-stage education firm before coming to Darden. 
Christina Zhou
Chief of Staff

Christina is an MBA candidate at the UVA Darden School of Business. Before Darden,  she has 4+ years of experience in financial services and even had her first start-up attempt in college. Great interest in investment and entrepreneurship leads her to dive into the venture capital area.

Select CAV Angels Team Members

Claudia Heath
Diligence Associate

Claudia is a double Hoo currently pursuing her MBA at the Darden School of Business. Prior to Darden, Claudia spent 4+ years in marketing for outdoor industry brands, and worked at CavAngels’ portfolio company Babylon Microfarms.  

Trip Means
Diligence Associate

Trip is an MBA candidate at the UVA Darden School of Business. He has 4+ years of experience in technology consulting with a focus in the healthcare and life sciences space.

Anne Page
Diligence Associate

Annie is an MBA candidate at the UVA Darden School of Business. She has 4+ years of experience in financial services and has worked for several early-stage startups, including CavAngels portfolio company Sunny Day Fund.

Tanner Powers
Diligence Associate

Tanner is an MBA candidate at UVA Darden School of Business. He spent 5+ years at EY in NYC within Financial Services Consulting, focusing on consumer products and enterprise resilience. Before Darden, Tanner left EY as a Manager to join SidelineSwap (the leading used sports gear marketplace) within Strategy & Finance. For his MBA internships, Tanner was a Venture Associate for Transform Capital (late-stage VC) and participated in Peak6’s MBA Bootcamp.  

Nicole Krolak
Venture Intern

Nicole is a third year in in the McIntire School of Commerce. She is a 2022 CAV Angels Intern.

Emily Cheng
Venture Intern

Emily is a third year student in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a 2021 CAV Angels Intern.

Carson Breus
Venture Intern

Carson is a second year in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a 2022 CAV Angels Intern.

Legal Board

Paul Nolde
President

Paul Nolde has over two decades of experience in the banking, finance, and venture capital sectors, serving in multiple business development and management roles.

As the new Managing Director of Lighthouse Labs, Paul sets the strategic vision for the organization and oversees day-to-day operations in accelerating venture-appropriate startups at the seed stage. Prior to this he served as the Fund Manager and Managing Director of Riverflow Growth Fund, a seed stage, healthcare-focused venture capital firm based in Richmond, VA. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of fund management and investment-related functions. Prior to this he served as a director at NRV, an early-stage venture capital firm also based in Richmond, VA, preceded by sales and strategy positions at multiple national and community banks, as well as managing the angel investment portfolio of a family office in Richmond, VA. He is an active participant in, and advocate for, Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving on the boards of several local and regional organizations, including the Activation Council, CAV Angels (president of the network), The Launch Place Seed Fund (chair of the board), and the Virginia Impact Investing Forum (chair of the board). Additionally, Paul sits on various boards at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, where he also serves as an adjunct professor of impact investing in its Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He graduated from UVA in 2001 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs, complimented by post-grad business studies through the McIntire School of Commerce Business Institute.
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Jim Cheng, JD/MBA
Co-Chair

Jim Cheng, JD/MBA, is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He founded, led, and successfully exited an IT services firm that he grew from 5 people to 550 people in 9 years, and has started and led additional ventures since.

He served as the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia for 4 years, contributing significantly to economic development, job creation, tourism, film, industry regulation and safety, housing, and a number of other commerce-related fields. He is currently of counsel at the law firm of Lee and Hayes and is working with several private equity and angel investment firms. He also teaches at the University of Virginia School of Engineering.
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Rich Diemer, CPA
Co-Chair/Treasurer

Rich is a respected chemicals industry senior finance executive with a proven track record of working within leadership teams that have created significant shareholder value. He has served as the CFO at two public (Albemarle and PolyOne Corporation) and one private, now public (Trinseo, LLC) global materials companies.

During his tenure, Rich has played a key role in creating over $7 billion of shareholder value. After 17 years in public accounting at KPMG, Rich joined Allied-Signal Inc. He was VP-Corporate Controller during the merger with Honeywell, then became CFO of Honeywell's Specialty Materials segment. In addition, Rich spent four years at Honeywell Capital Management, overseeing equity managers and managing a $500 million+ equity portfolio. Rich is on the McIntire Advisory Board, is a board member and Audit Committee Chair of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media, and serves as a Senior Director at Seale & Associates, a Northern Virginia-based global boutique investment banking and consultancy firm. Rich graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at The University of Virginia in 1980. He is the managing partner of Wickham Glen Holdings, LP, a family office
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Richard Crawford, JD/MBA
Chairman Ameritas

Richard Crawford is the Chairman of the Crawford Group, Inc., a multi-unit investment business with activities in agriculture, real estate, and advanced technology.

He is an experienced entrepreneur having started three companies and an experienced angel investor having made several personal angel investments and run the Virginia Active Angel Network. He has been a member of the Darden Faculty since 1988 and is currently a Visiting Executive Lecturer at Darden where he works closely with Professor William Sihler on the Finance of Small Business course. Richard has has been a member of the Law School Faculty since 2008 where he teaches a course in Finance of Small Enterprises. He holds B.A., MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia and is the author/co-author of five books.
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Greg Benante, MBA
Board Member

Greg is a proud ‘double Hoo’, holding a BA from the College of Arts and Sciences and an MBA from the Darden School of Business in Finance and Accounting.

Greg started his career in SaaS sales and business development and has led sales, growth and corporate development teams at firms such as Bloomberg and Gartner. He loves working with entrepreneurs and helping early and growth stage firms strategize and execute on their funding and expansion initiatives.
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Jesse Ellington, MBA
Board Member

Jess has over 30 years of investment and business experience managing alternative assets and individual portfolios.

Through his experience as a portfolio manager, equity analyst, hedge fund manager and investment management consultant, Jess has been able to generate superior investment results with particular focus on risk management and portfolio diversification. Prior to joining Union, Jess worked for Solaris Capital LLC, FDSI (Wilshire Associates), and Wells Fargo Investment Advisors. Jess is a graduate of The University of Virginia and has an MBA from The Darden School of Business at UVA.
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Aaron Fernstrom
Board Member

Aaron Fernstrom joined the Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management in March 2017. Prior to returning to Darden, Fernstrom served in the Asset Management Strategy practice at Deloitte. His engagements included long-term strategic planning, growth strategy, marketing strategy, product development, change management, organizational design, and post-merger operational integration for some of the world’s largest asset managers.

He also led research initiatives in digital marketing, the disintermediation of traditional asset management, direct lending, private debt and the growth of ETFs. Prior to Deloitte, Fernstrom was a venture capitalist focused on early-stage, revolutionary science and technology companies. The cumulative net IRR generated by his venture capital projects is 57.14%. Fernstrom graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Finance and received his MBA from the Darden School of Business.
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Nicole Thorne Jenkins
Board Member

Nicole Thorne Jenkins became the John A. Griffin Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia on July 1, 2020. Prior to arriving at McIntire, Dean Jenkins was the Von Allmen Endowed Chair of Accountancy and Vice Dean in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky.

Prior to Kentucky, she served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University and Washington University in St. Louis. Dean Jenkins received her Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Iowa and completed her undergraduate work in Accounting and Finance at Drexel University. Her research interests include the investigation of financial reporting failures, share repurchase, and the effect of social networks on performance outcomes. Her teaching experience has focused on financial reporting topics in both executive education, graduate, and undergraduate programs. Dean Jenkins is a Certified Public Accountant and is the immediate past president of the Financial Accounting & Reporting Section of the American Accounting Association. Prior to becoming an academic, she was an Auditor and Consultant at PriceWaterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. Additionally, she consults and serves as an expert witness in matters related to financial reporting, valuation, and estimation of damages.
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Christine Mahoney
Board Member

Christine Mahoney is a Professor of Public Policy and Politics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia. She studies social justice advocacy and direct action through social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Her first book Brussels vs. the Beltway (Georgetown University Press) explored how advocates shape public policy in two of the most powerful political systems on the planet: the US and the EU. She conducted fieldwork in 7 conflict zones in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America for her second book Failure and Hope: Fighting for the Rights of the Forcibly Displaced (Cambridge University Press). The book argues we need to advance impact investing in forced displacement solutions for the 80 million people displaced by violent conflict worldwide. To help foster innovative solutions to social problems she launched and leads Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia. Over the past ten years, SE@UVA has introduced courses on social entrepreneurship, a minor, a concept competition, scholarships to work with social enterprises and a myriad of student activities providing hands-on experience in social innovation.
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Jerry Peng
Board Member

Mr. Peng is an investor and entrepreneur, living in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr. Peng was most recently the founder and CEO of a greenfield project in Virginia applying leading innovative technology from China to produce eco-friendly products.

Mr. Peng’s career spans over twenty years in various senior roles across corporate finance, strategy and banking, with global institutions including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered Bank. Most recently he served as managing director with Goldman Sachs in Asia, managing corporate financing and derivatives business and corporate securities sales in China. Mr. Peng serves as a trustee on the University of Virginia Darden Business School Foundation Board, and as council member of Darden Global Advisory Council and Batten Institute Advisory Council. He is also a trustee of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ Board. He is co-founder and co-president of the China alumni clubs for Darden and UVA. He earned a BE in Engineering and Finance from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and an MBA from the Darden Business School.
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Adriana Gadala-Maria Ochi, MBA
Board Member

Adriana Gadala-Maria Ochi is a Miami, FL native and recent MBA graduate from UVA Darden. Throughout her MBA, Adriana worked at Bessemer Venture Partners, Glynn Capital, and Anorak Ventures while serving as Managing Partner at Dorm Room Fund.

Prior to Darden, Adriana spent nearly a decade building strategic partnerships for companies such as TechCrunch and Reddit. Adriana started her career at Reddit in 2011, where she was an early employee and drove partnerships with F500 companies including Coca-Cola, eBay, and Netflix. Adriana earned her BA from the University of Notre Dame where she studied French and History.
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Nikki Hastings
Board Member

Nikki Hastings is an operations biotech executive and entrepreneurial ecosystem builder with over 15 years of experience with early-stage biotech/medtech and medical device companies. She has held executive management roles at companies across multiple industry sectors including HemoShear Therapeutics, Contraline, and Cerillo.

Dr. Hastings co-founded CvilleBioHub in 2016 and serves as current executive director. Dr. Hastings is also Biotech Track Director in the UVA McIntire School of Commerce, training students at the intersection of business and science. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.
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Brian Plum
Board Member

Brian K. Plum is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Ridge Bankshares, Inc. (Ticker: BRBS) and its wholly-owned bank subsidiary Blue Ridge Bank, National Association. He has been with the company since August 2006.

Prior to joining the company he was in public accounting, and has been named a Super CPA three times by Virginia Business and the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is currently Chair-Elect of the Virginia Association of Community Banks, and involved with various civic and charitable groups as a board member and volunteer. He holds a B.S. in Economics and Accounting from Eastern Mennonite University, an MS in Accounting from James Madison University, and an MBA from the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia. He is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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Lily West
Board Member

The University of Virginia Alumni Association’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Educational Advisory Board

Dick Crawford
Chairman

Dick is the Chairman of the Crawford Group, Inc., a multi-unit investment business with activities in agriculture, real estate, and advanced technology.

John May, MPA
Advisor

John May, MPA, is a successful venture capitalist that specializes in angel group formation. He has been actively involved in the venture capital space for north of 25 years, has co-authored and co-edited multiple books on the subject of angel investing, and has received numerous honors and awards validating his high degree of knowledge and success in the venture-investing arena.

He is currently the Investment Director and General Partner at a UK venture capital firm; a guest lecturer at the Darden School of Business; and the owner of an organization that innovatively organizes early stage private equity for entrepreneurial ventures.
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William W. Sihler
Advisor

William W. Sihler retired in 2015 after teaching corporate and institutional finance for 48 years at the University of Virginia's Colgate Darden Graduate Business School where he held the Ronald E. Trzcinski Professorship in Business Administration. 

Before coming to Darden, he taught for three years at the Harvard Business School, resigning to accept a tenured appointment at Darden. From 1977-1994 Sihler was also the Executive Director of the Center for International Banking Studies. In 1982, he received the University of Virginia's Alumni Association's Distinguished Professor Award. He has served on several corporate boards including three NYSE companies, two of whose audit committees he chaired. He authored and co-authored seven books and two books of cases, usually working closely with Richard Crawford. He earned an A.B., MBA, and DBA at Harvard University.
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Founders Advisory Council

Bryan Simms
Chair

Co-Managing Partner at DS9 Capital. Co-Founder, OrchcestraRx, a DS9 portfolio company. JP Morgan/Lazard trained banker turned insurtech corporate/business development practitioner delivering commercial pipeline to sustainably grow companies.

Most recent engagement at Traffk, a DS9 Capital Portfolio company as Head of Corporate Development . Duke undergraduate (Varsity Athlete), UVa Darden graduate, Darden Trustee Emeritus, and CavAngels Board Member Emeritus. Competitive martial arts hobbyist holding Black Belts in Jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu and Muay Thai based mixed martial arts.
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Healthcare Advisory Council

Jim Daniero, MD MS
Chair

Jim Daniero, MD MS is an Otolaryngologist at UVA and an expert in laryngeal and upper airway surgery.  His clinical and research focus involves advanced techniques for upper airway reconstruction and the development of novel biomaterials for tissue engineering applications.

Dr. Daniero’s training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery involves the medical and surgical care of disorders involving the head, face, and neck. Dr. Daniero also serves as the Director of the Voice and Swallowing Center and the Center for OtoRhinoLaryngology Innovation (cORLi) at UVA. These directorships allow him to fulfill his dual passions of providing cutting-edge clinical care and developing novel medical solutions. Prior to attending medical school, he completed a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology at Georgetown University, which provided a window into innovation and translational research that has remained a passion throughout his career.
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